Thomas Waldmann planned to work for the government for a couple of years after graduating from medical school. Things didn't go as planned. He has been at the National Institutes of Health for 52 years.
During that time, Waldmann, chief of the metabolism branch at the National Cancer Institute, has worked on research that directly saved lives. The things he can do at NIH "would have been much more difficult outside," he said. "To see a patient get well with something you developed is a heady thing."
He is credited with helping make significant advances in treatment of multiple sclerosis, various types of cancer and AIDS.